One of those cult horror series that never really gained much notoriety but is adored by fans is Jeepers Creepers. Victor Salva founded the franchise in 2001, and it presently consists of three films, all of which he wrote and directed, as well as a reboot film that will debut in 2021.
In Jeepers Creepers, a demon-like creature/serial killer awakens for 23 days every 23 years to devour human flesh. The fact that the franchise was created with a relatively small budget (a combined $33.2 million for all three films) but has generated nearly five times as much revenue is largely responsible for its success.
You will learn about the tale that served as at least a partial inspiration for the events of the first Jeepers Creepers movie in today’s article. And while Jeepers Creepers isn’t based on that tale, it does borrow some details from the April 1990 murder of Marilynn DePue by her ex-husband, Dennis DePue.
In today’s piece, we’ll talk about the genuine incident that, at least in part, served as the basis for the first Jeepers Creepers movie’s premise. You’ll learn more about the actual case as well as how some of the details were included in the film. Additionally, you’ll learn about the sites connected to the case and how the title of the movie came to be. Enjoy.
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Is Jeepers Creepers a Real Story?
Dennis DePue, a native of Michigan, was the subject of a police manhunt in 1990 after he killed his wife and dumped her body behind an abandoned school. Different aspects of the case were included in the fictionalized rendition of Salva’s story, and although the movie is still too bizarre to be compared to a true story, the DePue case undoubtedly had an impact on the Jeepers Creepers series.
Brother and sister Ray and Marie Thornton watched DePue dump his wife’s body, just like Darry and Trish saw, and their sworn evidence served as the foundation for the true crime-based plot of Jeepers Creepers. The actual Thorntons said, like in Jeepers Creepers, that they witnessed DePue disposing of a body before he turned and noticed them in their automobile.
They claim that after that, DePue followed them in his van for a distance of several miles, mimicking the tense chase scene from Jeepers Creepers. The DePue case is extensively covered in an Unsolved Mysteries episode from 1991, with the Thorntons’ story being pieced together in a way that closely resembles the related Jeepers Creepers scenes.
Dennis DePue’s actual actions, including the terrible murder of his wife and the subsequent manhunt that led to DePue’s demise, do not deserve to be remembered. Possibly for this reason, Salva reimagined DePue’s sinister aura as The Creeper: a fearsome winged creature that movie residents have referred to as a “bat out of hell.” Salva included various fictional aspects of the Jeepers Creepers movie.
Jeepers Creepers combines these purely human aspects into a supernatural tale that keeps the eerie cold of the true crime on which it was based, even though the story behind the movie is still a somber tale of adultery and wicked motivation.
The Killer Who Was the Inspiration for “Jeepers Creepers”
The 2001 horror movie Jeepers Creepers was one of the most well-liked and lucrative ones of the early 2000s. Victor Salva’s classic horror film introduced a contemporary horror symbol known as the creeper. Over the years, the character has had a profound effect on people.
He is rumored to be some sort of winged monster that feeds for 23 days every 23 years. What’s intriguing is that a real-life murderer served as the inspiration for the Jeepers Creepers monster. In fact, Dennis DePue, a real-life serial killer, served as the idea for the antagonist in the Jeepers Creepers movie series.
For those who are unaware of the details, DePue killed his wife in 1990 after she requested a divorce and then dumped her body near an abandoned school. For anyone who recalls The Creeper disposing of his victims in a manner akin to this behind an abandoned church, this should already bring to mind the events of Jeepers Creepers.
What’s more intriguing, though, is how much more inspiration Jeepers Creepers drew from these genuine incidents. In fact, it appeared to closely match the accounts provided by the two witnesses who witnessed Dennis DePue throw his wife’s body in a ditch.
Evil is Reborn.
— Jeepers Creepers: Reborn (Official) (@JeepersReborn) July 20, 2022
The two witnesses who saw Dennis DePue dispose of his wife’s body were Ray and Marie Thornton. They were shortly followed by Dennis DePue, who continued to get in his van and follow the couple for a distance before halting, just like the movie’s events.
Furthermore, an Unsolved Mysteries episode was based on their evidence, and there is no denying the similarities between this and the chase scene from Jeepers Creepers. Dennis DePue was later identified thanks to the Unsolved Mysteries show, and he finally committed suicide.
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Victor Salva has never acknowledged that Unsolved Mysteries had any influence on Jeepers Creepers; instead, he credits Steven Spielberg’s Duel as a major source of inspiration.
Dennis was buried at Eagle Cemetery in Lagrange County, Indiana, far away from his wife’s final resting place in Oakland County, Michigan. Certain actions by Dennis DePue were depicted in the episode of Unsolved Mysteries and were clearly the basis of the beginning of 2001’s Jeepers Creepers. Stay tuned to our website, NogMagazine.com for more updates.